2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit: Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the opening ceremony
Chinese President H.E. Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) on Monday. The full text of his speech is available below.
Work Together for Common Development and a Shared Future
September has just set in Beijing, bringing with it refreshing breeze and picturesque autumn scenery. And we are so delighted to have all of you with us, friends both old and new, in this lovely season for the reunion of the China-Africa big family at the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
I wish to extend, on behalf of the Chinese government and people and in my own name, a very warm welcome to all of you, dear colleagues and guests. I also wish to extend, through you, the best regards and cordial greetings of the Chinese people to the brotherly people of Africa.
I wish to mention in particular that since the Johannesburg Summit, FOCAC has had three new members, namely, the Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe and Burkina Faso. Today, we are joined by President Barrow, Prime Minister Trovoada and President Kabore and their delegations. Let us welcome them with a warm round of applause!
Over a month ago, I paid my fourth visit to Africa as the Chinese President, which was also my ninth visit to this land of great promise. During the last visit, I once again saw an Africa that is beautiful and richly endowed, that is full of dynamism in development, and I learned about first-hand the African people’s ardent hope for a better future. I concluded the visit even more convinced that Africa’s development has great potential, that this great continent is full of hope, that China-Africa friendship and cooperation have broad vistas, and that China and Africa can forge an even stronger comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership!
As an ancient Chinese scholar once observed, “Only with deep roots can a tree yield rich fruit; only filled with oil can a lamp burn brightly.” History follows its own rules and logic. With similar fate in the past and a common mission, China and Africa have extended sympathy to and helped each other throughout all the years. Together, we have embarked on a distinctive path of win-win cooperation.
Marching on this path, China has followed the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests. China has stood with African countries. Together, we have worked in unity and forged ahead.
China values sincerity, friendship and equality in pursuing cooperation. The over 1.3 billion Chinese people have been with the over 1.2 billion African people in pursuing a shared future. We respect Africa, love Africa and support Africa. We follow a “five-no” approach in our relations with Africa: no interference in African countries’ pursuit of development paths that fit their national conditions; no interference in African countries’ internal affairs; no imposition of our will on African countries; no attachment of political strings to assistance to Africa; and no seeking of selfish political gains in investment and financing cooperation with Africa. We hope this “five-no” approach could apply to other countries as they deal with matters regarding Africa. For China, we are always Africa’s good friend, good partner and good brother. No one could undermine the great unity between the Chinese people and the African people.
China pursues common interests and puts friendship first in pursuing cooperation. China believes that the sure way to boost China-Africa cooperation is for both sides to leverage its respective strength; it is for China to complement Africa’s development through its own growth, and it is for both China and Africa to pursue win-win cooperation and common development. In doing so, China follows the principle of giving more and taking less, giving before taking and giving without asking for return. With open arms, we welcome African countries aboard the express train of China’s development. No one could hold back the Chinese people or the African people as we march toward rejuvenation.
China takes a people-oriented approach in pursuing practical cooperation with efficiency. With top priority given to the interests of Chinese and African peoples, China advances its cooperation with Africa to improve the well-being of Chinese and African peoples and deliver more benefits to them. We will fully honor the promises we have made to our African brothers. Faced with new developments and challenges, China will continue to improve institution building, develop new ideas and expand areas of cooperation with Africa to bring our cooperation to greater heights. Ultimately, it is for the peoples of China and Africa to judge the performance of China-Africa cooperation. No one could deny the remarkable achievements made in China-Africa cooperation, not with their assumption or imagination.
China takes an open and inclusive approach to cooperation. China is fully aware that long-term stability, security, development and invigoration for Africa is not only the longing of the African people; it is also the responsibility of the international community. China stands ready to work with other international partners to support Africa in pursuing peace and development. China welcomes and supports all initiatives that meet Africa’s interests, and believes that it should be the same with the wider international community. No one could stand in the way or obstruct international efforts to support Africa’s development.
Our world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century: the surging trend toward multi-polarity, economic globalization, IT application and cultural diversity, accelerated transformation of the global governance system and international order, rapid rise of emerging markets and developing countries, and greater balance in global power configuration. The well-being of people in all countries has never been so closely intertwined as it is today.
On the other hand, we also face challenges unseen before. Hegemony and power politics persist; protectionism and unilateralism are mounting; war, conflicts, terrorism, famine and epidemics continue to plague us; security challenges, both traditional and non-traditional, remain as complex and interwoven as ever.
However, we are firm in our conviction that peace and development remain the underlying trend of our times. Indeed, they are the call of the times. The international community should take our historical responsibility and respond to the call of our times with solidarity, vision, courage and a sense of mission.
To respond to the call of the times, China takes it its mission to make new and even greater contribution to mankind. China will work with other countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind, forge partnerships across the world, enhance friendship and cooperation, and explore a new path of growing state-to-state relations based on mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation. Our goal is to make the world a place of peace and stability and life happier and more fulfilling for all.
To respond to the call of the times, China is ready to jointly promote the Belt and Road Initiative with international partners. We hope to create new drivers to power common development through this new platform of international cooperation; and we hope to turn it into a road of peace, prosperity, openness, green development and innovation and a road that brings together different civilizations.
To respond to the call of the times, China will get actively involved in global governance and stay committed to the vision of consultation, cooperation and benefit for all in global governance. China has all along played its part in promoting world peace and development and upholding the international order. We call for increasing the representation and voice of developing countries in international affairs and support efforts to strengthen the South, a weak link in the global governance system, as well as efforts to create synergy in South-South cooperation. We will continue the efforts to make the global governance system better represent the will and interests of the majority of countries, especially developing countries.
To respond to the call of the times, China will remain committed to opening-up. Facing uncertainty and unpredictability in global growth, China will continue to grow an open economy for win-win cooperation, and it will embrace an open world economy and the multilateral trading system and reject protectionism and unilateralism. No one who keeps himself in isolation on a single island will have a future.
To quote a Chinese saying, “The ocean is vast because it rejects no rivers.” China, the world’s largest developing country, and Africa, the continent with the largest number of developing countries, have long formed a community with a shared future. Indeed, we share a common stake. China will work with Africa to achieve our shared goal of building a closer China-Africa community with a shared future and turn it into a pacesetter for building such a community for mankind.
First, let us build a China-Africa community with a shared future to assume our joint responsibility. We could increase political and policy dialogue at various levels, enhance mutual understanding and support on issues involving each other’s core interests and major concerns, and boost coordination on major international and regional issues. Such efforts will enable us to uphold the common interests of China and Africa as well as other developing countries.
Second, let us build a China-Africa community with a shared future that pursues win-win cooperation. We could both seize the opportunity created by the complementarity between our respective development strategies and the major opportunities presented by the Belt and Road Initiative. We need to see to it that the Belt and Road Initiative and the AU Agenda 2063, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the development programs of African countries better complement each other. With these efforts, we could expand areas of cooperation, unlock new cooperation potential, consolidate our traditional areas of cooperation, and foster new highlights of cooperation in the new economy.
Third, let us build a China-Africa community with a shared future that delivers happiness for all of us. Making lives better for our people is what we aim to achieve in growing China-Africa relations; so we need to make sure our cooperation delivers real benefits to us both in China and in Africa. Mutual help and solidarity is what has defined China-Africa relations over the years. Going forward, China will do more to help Africa alleviate poverty, pursue development, increase employment and income, and better the lives of its people.
Fourth, let us build a China-Africa community with a shared future that enjoys cultural prosperity. Both China and Africa are proud of our splendid civilizations, and we are both ready to make greater contributions to promoting cultural diversity in the world. By enhancing exchanges, mutual learning and harmonious co-existence of our civilizations, we will inject lasting impetus into invigorating our civilizations and cultures, enriching our artistic creations, and provide rich cultural nourishment for China-Africa cooperation. With more people-to-people exchanges in culture and art, education, sports, and between our think tanks, the media, and women and young people, we will strengthen the bond between the people of China and Africa.
Fifth, let us build a China-Africa community with a shared future that enjoys common security. People that have gone through adversity value peace most. China champions a new vision of security featuring common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. We firmly support African countries and the African Union as well as other regional organizations in Africa in solving African issues in the African way, and we support the African initiative of “Silence the Guns in Africa”. China is ready to play a constructive role in promoting peace and stability in Africa and will support African countries to strengthen their independent capacity for safeguarding stability and peace.
Sixth, let us build a China-Africa community with a shared future that promotes harmony between man and nature. The Earth is the only place which we mankind call home. China will work with Africa to pursue green, low-carbon, circular and sustainable development and protect our lush mountains and lucid waters and all living beings on our planet. We will strengthen exchange and cooperation with Africa on climate change, clean energy, prevention and control of desertification and soil erosion, protection of wildlife and other areas of ecological and environmental preservation. Together, we could make China and Africa beautiful places for people to live in harmony with nature.
Since the 2015 FOCAC Johannesburg Summit, China has fully implemented the ten cooperation plans adopted at the Summit. A large number of railway, highway, airport, port and other infrastructure projects as well as a number of economic and trade cooperation zones have been built or are under construction. Our cooperation on peace and security, science, education, culture, health, poverty reduction, and people-to-people interactions has deepened. The US$60 billion financing pledged by China has been either delivered or arranged. These ten cooperation plans have brought huge benefits to the African and Chinese peoples. They have fully demonstrated the creativity, rallying power and efficiency of China-Africa cooperation, and lifted China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership to new heights.
To build an even closer China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era, China will, on the basis of the ten cooperation plans already adopted, launch eight major initiatives in close collaboration with African countries in the next three years and beyond.
First, China will launch an industrial promotion initiative. We have decided to open a China-Africa economic and trade expo in China; we encourage Chinese companies to increase investment in Africa, and will build and upgrade a number of economic and trade cooperation zones in Africa. We will support Africa in achieving general food security by 2030, work with Africa to formulate and implement a program of action to promote China-Africa cooperation on agricultural modernization. We will implement 50 agricultural assistance programs, provide RMB 1 billion of emergency humanitarian food assistance to African countries affected by natural disasters, send 500 senior agriculture experts to Africa, and train young researchers in agri-science and entrepreneurs in agri-business. We will support Chinese companies in Africa to forge alliance of corporate social responsibilities. We will continue to strengthen cooperation with African countries in local currency settlement and make good use of the China-Africa Development Fund, the China-Africa Fund for Industrial Cooperation and the Special Loan for the Development of African SMEs.
Second, China will launch an infrastructure connectivity initiative. We have decided to jointly formulate a China-Africa infrastructure cooperation plan with the African Union. We will support Chinese companies in participating in Africa’s infrastructure development by way of investment-construction-operation or through other models, with focus on enhancing cooperation on energy, transport, information, telecommunications and cross-border water resources. We will work with Africa to undertake a number of key connectivity projects. We will support Africa in developing the Single African Air Transport Market and open more direct flights between China and Africa. We will facilitate bond issuance by African countries and their financial institutions in China. On the basis of following multilateral rules and procedures, we will support African countries in making better use of financing resources of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the New Development Bank, and the Silk Road Fund.
Third, China will launch a trade facilitation initiative. We have decided to increase imports, particularly non-resource products, from Africa. We support African countries in participating in the China International Import Expo. The least developed African countries participating in it will be exempted from paying exhibition stand fees. We will continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation on market regulation and between customs authorities, and implement 50 trade facilitation programs for Africa. We will hold, on a regular basis, marketing activities for Chinese and African brand products. We support the building of the African Continental Free Trade Area and will continue to hold free trade negotiations with interested African countries and regions. And we will set up relevant mechanisms to promote e-commerce cooperation with Africa.
Fourth, we will launch a green development initiative. We have decided to undertake 50 projects for green development and ecological and environmental protection in Africa to expand exchanges and cooperation with Africa on climate change, ocean, desertification prevention and control, and wildlife protection. A China-Africa environmental cooperation center will be set up, and more policy dialogue and joint research on environmental issues will be conducted. The China-Africa Green Envoys Program will be implemented to strengthen Africa’s human capacity for environmental management, pollution prevention and control, and green development. A China-Africa bamboo center will be established to help Africa make bamboo and rattan products. China will also work with Africa to raise public awareness of environmental protection.
Fifth, we will launch a capacity building initiative. China will share more of its development practices with Africa and support cooperation with Africa on economic and social development planning. Ten Luban Workshops will be set up in Africa to provide vocational training for young Africans. China will support opening of a China-Africa innovation cooperation center to promote youth innovation and entrepreneurship. A tailor-made program will be carried out to train 1,000 high-caliber Africans. China will provide Africa with 50,000 government scholarships and 50,000 training opportunities for seminars and workshops, and will invite 2,000 young Africans to visit China for exchanges.
Sixth, we will launch a health care initiative. China has decided to upgrade 50 medical and health aid programs for Africa, particularly flagship projects such as the headquarters of the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention and China-Africa Friendship Hospitals. Exchange and information cooperation will be carried out on public health. Cooperation programs will be launched on the prevention and control of emerging and re-emerging communicable diseases, schistosomiasis, HIV/AIDS and malaria. China will train more medical specialists for Africa and continue to send medical teams that better meet Africa’s needs. More mobile medical services will be provided to patients for the treatment of cataract, heart disease and dental defects. And targeted health care services will be provided to women and children of vulnerable groups in Africa.
Seventh, we will launch a people-to-people exchange initiative. China decided to establish an institute of African studies to enhance exchanges with Africa on civilization. The China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Plan will be upgraded. Fifty joint cultural, sports and tourism events will be organized. China welcomes Africa’s participation in the Silk Road International League of Theaters, the Silk Road International Museum Alliance and the Network of Silk Road Art Festivals. A China-Africa media cooperation network will be established. More African culture centers will be opened in China and more Chinese culture centers in Africa. Qualified African educational institutes are welcome to host Confucius Institutes. More African countries are welcome to become destinations for Chinese tour groups.
Eighth, we will launch a peace and security initiative. China decided to set up a China-Africa peace and security fund to boost our cooperation on peace, security, peacekeeping, and law and order. China will continue to provide military aid to the AU, and will support countries in the Sahel region and those bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Guinea in upholding security and combating terrorism in their regions. A China-Africa peace and security forum will be established as a platform for conducting more exchanges in this area. Fifty security assistance programs will be launched to advance China-Africa cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, and in areas of law and order, UN peacekeeping missions, fighting piracy and combating terrorism.
To make sure that these eight initiatives are implemented on the ground, China will extend US$60 billion of financing to Africa in the form of government assistance as well as investment and financing by financial institutions and companies. This will include US$15 billion of grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, US$20 billion of credit lines, the setting up of a US$10 billion special fund for development financing and a US$5 billion special fund for financing imports from Africa. We encourage Chinese companies to make at least US$10 billion of investment in Africa in the next three years. In addition, for those of Africa’s least developed countries, heavily indebted and poor countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing countries that have diplomatic relations with China, the debt they have incurred in the form of interest-free Chinese government loans due to mature by the end of 2018 will be exempted.
The future of China-Africa relations lies in our young people. Many of the measures in the eight initiatives I just outlined are designed to help young people in Africa. These measures will provide young Africans with more training and job opportunities and open up more space for their development. Last October, I wrote back to the exchange students of the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development. Most of them were from Africa. I encouraged them to make the best of what they have learned, aim high, and keep working hard to promote China-Africa cooperation and South-South cooperation. I believe they have new roles to play and new accomplishments to make in this regard.
“The red rising sun will light up the road ahead.” I am confident that the baton of China-Africa friendship will be passed from one generation to the next and that China and Africa, working together, will build an even more vibrant community with a shared future. The day will surely come when the Chinese nation realizes its dream of national renewal and Africa realizes its dream of unity and invigoration!